At the start of 2007 Melisa Young was on public aid, working at a baby clothes store and tending bar at a reggae club. Fast forward 18 months and she’s collaborated with Kanye West, A-Trak, Diplo, Infamous, David Banner, Estelle, had features in Spin, i-D, W, Flaunt, The New York Times (among countless others) and been nominated for a best female rapper BET award. All of this on the eve of her debut record Ultraviolet. How?
The story starts in Chicago’s south suburbs. Melisa was just your average around the way girl – your best friend, the girl you rode the bus with, your kid sister. The multicultural product of two musician parents, Young joined the school choir as a child and had a deep fascination with classical music. Then Hip-Hop came along – starting with the late ‘80s / early ‘90s brand of Pop party rap and leading up to her love of Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle – as well as the hometown house music that would soundtrack her teenage journey into the after hours.
With a fake ID and a posse of fellow Catholic schoolgirls, Melisa met the battlegrounds that would later dub her Kid Sister through a nightclub known as Jubilation. Once Young’s brother Josh began performing now legendary residencies at Chicago’s Old Town Pub (the launching pad for Chicago’s Hip Hop renaissance) as one half of the DJ duo Flosstradamus, Young found herself on stage, as well as her calling.
As Kid Sister’s live performance rep and press buzz grew, she signed to Fool’s Gold Records, founded by her producer A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs. A crucial break came when Kid Sister’s track “Pro Nails” got into the hands of Kanye West. The song’s punchy synths and syllable-flipping rhymes prompted him to recorded an enthusiastic guest verse and make a cameo in the video. Naturally this set off a major label bidding war, ultimately ending with Kid Sister signing to Downtown Records.
Seamlessly fusing elements of electro pop, Hip-Hop, ghetto house and other uptempo sounds, Ultraviolet is an album that only Kid Sister has the lyrical charisma and stylistic versatility to pull off. She’s aided and abetted by some of today’s most inventive producers, ranging from French electronic wizard Yuksek (“Life On TV”) to Lil Wayne and Juelz’ go-to beatsmith Infamous (“Don’t Stop Movin”) and of course A-Trak, who unites the cipher with the dancefloor on “Get Fresh” in a way that can only be now classified as that signature Kid Sister sound.
The pure audio Red Bull of tracks like “Control” and “Switchboard” (featuring Chicago juke hero DJ Gant-Man”) sit perfectly alongside the R&B flavored “Down Ass Jawn,” giving Young a chance to show her versatility. She even makes time to link up with Swedish House Mafia producers Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso on “Right Hand Hi” and pay homage to all the female MCs who paved the way on “First Ladies,” featuring UK powerhouse Estelle.
“I think Ultraviolet represents everything that I am,” Kid Sister says with a smile. “Silly, yet unfuckwitable.”
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